Review: Nothing More, SHVPES, Servant Sun – Glasgow.

Nothing More, SHVPES, Servant Sun – King Tut’s, Glasgow. 06 Dec 15

Before Nothing More took to the stage as part of their debut UK headlining tour, there was the small matter of two opening acts to warm up the crowd on a wet and windy Sunday night in Glasgow. First up, were local outfit Servant Sun, who brought with them a vociferous cheerleading section who made sure that the band were met with some familiar faces on the front row. Since releasing their debut EP on Bandcamp a year ago, these youngsters have built up quite a head of steam in preparation of EP number 2 by putting the hard work in on the road and in the studio. Vocalist, Andrew MacDonald has a fine set of lungs on him, and he is equally at home laying down some neat clean vocals as he is reaching down and bellowing out some impressive guttural growls. In parts Metalcore, Groove Metal, and Trad Metal, Servant Sun display a confidence that belies their age, and songs like ‘Prism’ and ‘Recall’ are worthy of further investigation.Check them out on facebook for more information, and lend an ear to the music available for your perusal.

SHVPES (previously known as Cytota), are a 5 piece post-metal band from Birmingham, England, who are shaking their way into the alternative music scene, and causing quite a stir!… Newly appointed vocalist, Griffin Dickinson (son of the mighty Bruce of Iron Maiden) performs alongside Harry Jennings (drums), Youssef Ashraf (guitar), Oliver Pike (bass), and Ryan Hamilton (guitar/backing vocals). Since Griffin has joined the band, he has added intensity, passion, and electricity to ignite the soul and sound of SHVPES with his super-controlled cleans and his gnarly unclean vocals. Griffin’s presence has intensified the need to check this band out!

While watching SHVPES, I was definitely taken aback by the pure, raw energy. It was like an invisible uppercut of “WAKE UP GLASGOW, IT’S TIME TO MOVE!” right to the jaw. The set it was a mixture of melodic heavy riffs, crazily controlled vocals, and catchy drum patterns, which made me feel like singing at the top of my lungs and moving around. They opened up with “State Of Mind”, perfectly performed and executed. Later, Dickinson leapt from the stage, and aggressively pushed himself through the crowd in attempt to get the them riled up. He grabbed his chance by the balls, and squeezed it as hard as he could! SHVPES finally cracked the Glasgow fans! (Glasgow is ALWAYS a tough crowd. If you can break them, you can break them all!). SHVPES got them moving, jumping, screaming, and finally a mosh pit opened up all during their last song “Breaking The Silence”, a perfectly titled song for a perfect singular moment of clarity and achievement from the band. Quite frankly, it was an immaculate ending to a hard worked, and hard fought, set. Make sure you try catch SHVPES on their upcoming shows with 36 Crazyfists and Fightstar in 2016, they’ll be killer I promise you.

After well received support slots on tours by both Pretty Reckless and Halestorm, it was time for US experimental-progressive-Metal-impossible-to-pigeonhole quartet Nothing More to batter the UK audience into submission, as part of their debut European headlining tour. Nothing More provide what can only be described as an all-out retina-blitzing assault on the senses that, at times, astounds.

‘Christ Copyright’ is a perfect opener, and the band come flying out of the traps. Indeed, bassist Daniel Oliver is so pumped, that when he leaps up onto the lip of the stage, he doesn’t notice the low ceiling and clatters his head, but the adrenaline is flowing, and a mere bump will not put a damper on his evening. Powerful, emotional, sincere, energetic, enthralling… just a few words to describe Nothing More’s allergic-to-shirts vocalist Jonny Hawkins, an artist in every definition of the word. The guy is mesmerizing to watch. He’s all over the stage, getting in everyone’s faces,,throwing himself around,,shaking and contorting like a young Anthony Kiedis, pausing only to batter seven bells out of his own mini drum kit at the front of the stage.

The set is culled from last years astonishing self-titled album, and on the live stage, Nothing More prove that the album was no fluke. ‘Mr MTV’ totally crushes, and the band change tacks midsong from banging Tool/RATM riffing, to low key rumbling, before guitarist Mark Vollelunga brings the band back in with soaring riffs that wash over the front few rows. ‘First Punch’ is off on another tangent, very groovy with an uplifting chorus. Nothing More remind me of Biffy Clyro, in the sense that the songs change style and pace throughout, and you never quite know where the song will end up. ‘The Matthew Effect’ is a monster live, and drummer Ben Anderson plays out of his skin.

The song from the current video, ‘Here’s To The Heartache’ shows another side to Nothing More, with perhaps the most commercial song on the album, and live it really is a massive favourite of the crowd. In fact, the guy in front of me is going nuts, and spitting out every word with bug-eyed venom, much to his friends embarrassment. I’d really hate to be the person that aroused such angst in this guy. A deeply personal song born out of… well… heartache, this is one of Nothing More’s finest moments, and one perfect for daytime radio. ‘Friendly Fire’, ‘Sex And Lies’, and ‘Take A Bullet’ are more bangers that inspire some frantic windmill action in the front row. ‘Surface Flames’ features the much lauded ‘bass solo’ and when was the last time a bass solo was lauded? Hawkins sets up a metal frame with a swinging arm (John Doe might have used something similar as a torture device in Se7en), and Daniel Oliver sets his bass on it before all the band members start to play it together,some on the neck some on the body. Trust me, mere description cannot do this justice at all, especially when the swinging arm is used and the bass is flying around. Mind-blowing.

‘Jenny’ is perhaps the song that most Nothing More fans identify with. Dealing with mental health issues, the song tells the tale of Hawkins’ sister Jenny, who has wrestled with bipolar disorder since she was born, in fact the band started the #iknowJenny campaign to raise awareness and attempt to dissolve the stigma attached to mental health conditions. Given the emotional and highly personal subject matter, it’s fair to say that Hawkins is spent by the time the song ends, but somehow he picks himself up for a crunching rendition of ‘This Is The Time (Ballast)’ before leading the charge on set closer ‘Salem’, which features some incredible synchronised drumming with drums set up on either side of the stage. A highly visual end to an incredible set from a band who have not only the Metal press queuing up to spew forth superlatives, but the mainstream media like Billboard and The Guardian also getting in on the act. With work beginning on a new album after Christmas, 2016 could be a very good year indeed for Nothing More.

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Images Ritchie Birnie

Review: Carol Black and Dave Stott


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